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Driving on the Other Side of the Road: Five Tips for Doing It Right

August 7, 2013 at 9:31 AM | by | ()

Although we love public transportation as much as the next person, there are times when the rental car is a travel necessity. Things get a little bit more complicated when the rules of the road are flipped, and you find yourself navigating the other of the road. Here’s a few tips to help you take the high road:

· Get a co-pilot:
To be clear, our other side of the road is driving on the left rather than the right, so we found it pretty darn helpful to have someone along for the ride. This person reminds you where to turn, which lane to use, and to elbow you when you’re hugging the left side of the road way too much. Here, a backseat driver can be more of a lifesaver than an annoyance, because a reminder to stay on the correct side is certainly welcome. After all, two heads are better than one, right?

· Pay for an automatic:
We enjoy utilizing the third pedal whenever possible, but if the steering wheel is flipped there’s no need to add any more complications. Skip the manual transmission—if you can—and go with a car that shifts for you. It’s one less thing to worry about, so you can concentrate on staying on your side of the road and negotiating right-of-way.

· Take it slow:
Check those mirrors, check them again, and then spin your head around 360 degrees. We found it helpful to take things a little bit slower than usual, as we constantly felt like we were on our driving test. Sure we got a little more confident towards the end of a couple weeks, but then again we wanted to make sure not to get too comfortable.

· Watch those signals:
Our vehicle had the turn signal indicator and the windshield wiper doodad flipped around, so we quickly had one of the cleanest windshields on the planet. Just keep trying to remember to use those signals—don’t give up—and eventually you’ll get the hang of things. It’s especially helpful to follow the rules of the road, because fellow motorists will certainly appreciate a turn signal when you just have to pull off to stop and take in the scenery.

· Stay to your side of the road:
Obviously this is a pretty key element of staying safe, but not only do you need to stay on the correct side of the road—in our case the left—you need to also do so when you’re going a little slower. Cars pass on the right when on a two-lane road, so stick it in the slow lane and let the locals zip right past. We know it hurts the self-esteem to be stuck in the slow lane, but in the long run it’s worth the pain.

[Photo: Jaunted]

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